The West 59th Street Sea Creatures

Way over on West 59th Street between 10th and 11th is this great little Parks Department rec center, dwarfed on all sides by ultra-modern glass-curtain highrises.

Bath 01

Once a bath house, the rec center now houses a public pool. What I especially love about this building are the two aquatic sculptures in the upper corners.

West 59th Rec - 02

In the left corner, you have these awesome, somewhat creepy fish, no pupils, mouths wide and perched on something that could either be a shell or perhaps the stern of a boat.

Bath 03

Then, on the right, you have what appears to be a different species…

Bath 04

In a way, doesn’t it look like they’re grumbling about that building to the right?


Shooting in NYC Tidbit: Since most movies aren’t allowed to shoot at police stations, city rec buildings are often the next best thing. This is a great example – add some signage, a few police cars out front, and one of those green ball lamps, and this is as realistic a precinct house as any I’ve ever seen.

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  1. Wow, did not know that about police stations… And the detail on that building is so amazing!

  2. Are you sure about police stations? Is this a recent change to the rules? Off the top of my head I can think of at least one movie and two shows that used actual precinct exteriors – 15 Minutes (w/ Edward Burns and Robert DeNiro) used the exterior of the 1st PCT on Ericsson Pl., and NYPD Blue and Kojak used the exterior of the 9th PCT on E. 5th St.

  3. You do love your statues adorning buildings don’t you! Thanks for bringing them to our attention, especially all the way over here in Scotland. I now look for them in each city I’m in, and love taking photographs of them.

    Great blog, I really enjoy following it.

  4. The fish on the right look like those Muppet theater guys, Statler and Waldorf, to me.

  5. they’re pretty traditional koi, just fyi. (

  6. Even better than the outside? The pool inside this rec center. There is a kitchen clock with fruit instead of numbers hanging over the lifeguard area. And it is lined with beautiful old mosaics. It’s one of my favorite pools in the city, unless the heat is out.

  7. i go to school in the building right across the street from this one, and when we first moved into the building about three years ago there was much speculation about the building and whether or not the pool was still open for use. pretty cool to see that someone else has noticed it too! and i believe this is west 60th street, not west 59th…